Let’s face it, if you have the motivation to consistently train with a high intensity you’re setting yourself up for success.
When you pursue anything in life you need to incentivize. Incentive is what motivates and gives you the enthusiasm to put the effort into reaching your goals.
Without motivation, channeling the full-force intensity needed to translate reps into results is all but impossible.
We all have those days when we experience a total lack of motivation when gearing up for the gym.
For some, the enthusiasm that fueled incredible workouts in the early stages of training evaporates over time and never returns.
While most devoted and disciplined lifters quickly override the urge to take it easy in the gym, an unlucky few remain on cruise control, never really giving it their all despite their best intentions.
So how do these people recapture the willingness to make each workout the best workout of their life?
It all comes back to incentive.
1. Make training non-negotiable
Some things are non-negotiable. On the health front, sleep, food, and hygiene are accepted without question as part of our daily schedule. So why not consider training another of life’s non-negotiables?
Make the idea of not training a big time deal breaker that is absolutely not acceptable. By adding training to your list of non-negotiables, there is less chance of cancelling a session should a friend call in for coffee unannounced. Feeling a ‘little under the weather’ becomes nothing more than a lame excuse to cut a training session short.
Placing training high on your list of priorities sends a message to others that you are serious about the gym. People will come to understand and respect the importance you attach to working out. By giving training non-negotiable status, the incentive never to miss a workout is increased. Working out will have a whole new level of importance in your life.
No excuses. No compromising.
2. Set workout goals
Gaining X amount of muscle by May or achieving a new personal best on the bench press by July are examples of typical training goals. But how many people set specific workout goals?
Related: 75 Bench Press Tips to Increase Your 1 Rep Max
Failing to achieve a goal you’ve set for yourself can be disheartening. But without goals there is no direction. When it comes time to up the intensity, if you have no goal to strive towards you’re just as likely to quit than rise to the challenge.
Having gym goals gives incentive to up the intensity despite your muscles crying out in pain. Knowing exactly what you expect to achieve from a training session leaves little room for uncertainty and doubt. Before your next workout, map out the exact weights to be lifted, number of sets, and rep ranges.
Write out what you know is achievable but also challenging enough to induce extreme effort. Thrive on the challenge of a hard workout and the thrill of victory. A set of specific goals for each workout will incentivize your training like never before.
Pre-training preparation is as important as the training itself. A good pre-training ritual includes visualization, pre-workout nutrition, inspiring music, and positive self-talk to provide extra incentive to hit the weights hard.
The physical ability to train all out for an hour or more can easily be damaged by poor focus and a lack of direction. Focus and direction can be reinforced by increasing your mental pump. Eat a nutritious meal an hour before and take a pre-workout supplement just before your start.
Mentally rehearse your workout and visualize a positive outcome. Tell yourself “I WILL press 300lbs today”. Listen to music that gets your blood pumping. A pre-workout ritual should be viewed as essential in supporting solid muscle gains.
4. Be accountable
A major method for boosting training accountability involves sharing the training journey with family, friends, and on social media. Putting training goals out there for all to see provides the incentive to follow through. Failing in front of many is a far worse prospect when compared to failing and no one knowing about it.
Whether we will admit to it or not, nobody likes to be seen as a failure.
Sharing the training process with others also allows you to keep track of your progress. By putting training goals and expectations in writing you become more attuned to what has to be done to complete your mission. It also builds a supportive network of well-wishers that can encourage you to do your best.
Related: 64 Arnold Quotes on Bodybuilding, Motivation, & Success
5. Partner up
Besides increasing accountability, a training partner is often all the motivation you need to up your gym game. A gym buddy can challenge and inspire you when your motivation is at its lowest.
Missing a workout is not an option if your training partner has honored their end of the bargain. Getting to the gym on time and having a killer workout is encouraged ten-fold when a willing partner is waiting for you.
Finding a compatible training partner can be difficult. A few ‘auditions’ may need to be held to find someone who is reliable and committed to the training process. But when you find that perfect swolemate the ongoing incentive to make each training session count and push yourself to your limits is worth it.
6. Train for something big
Specific workout goals provide direction and help to channel focus. Having a major goal (a bodybuilding event or photo shoot) provides a foundation for workout goal setting and, with its specific timeframe, provides an incentive to make each workout better than the last.
Presenting your best possible physique in a bodybuilding contest cannot be achieved through half-measures. Any skimping on workout intensity or reduction in training volume may be reflected onstage.
Much the same way accountability is reinforced when sharing the training process with others, having an event to train for holds you to an agreement, which makes quitting all the more difficult.
Incentivize your training
Health, strength, and vitality should be incentive enough to fully commit to the gym. Proper training is difficult and pushing your body to physical exhaustion is the only way to produce real results. And although this may seem daunting, by using these six steps to fire-up your next training program, you won’t be giving anything less than your very best.